#134 – Gain a Competitive Intelligence Advantage with Helium 10’s Market Tracker Tool
If you’re an eCommerce seller, you’re probably either tracking your keywords or keeping a close eye on a product.
It’s easy to imagine a desk, or possibly an entire kitchen table with computers, iPads and pieces of paper scattered everywhere.
Today, on the Serious Sellers Podcast, you’ll hear about a much better idea. In this episode, Helium 10’s Director of Training and Customer Success, Bradley Sutton welcomes our VP of Products, John Gjeldum. He’s here to tell us more about one of our newest tools, Market Tracker.
With Market Tracker, you can go beyond tracking a few products or keywords. Market Tracker gives you the big picture into the health of the markets you sell in. All the analytics, insights and rankings in one, simple dashboard.
This is one you don’t want to miss.
In episode 134 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Bradley and John discuss:
- 01:35 – John’s Origin Story
- 03:00 – “Stay in School, Work Hard and You’ll End Up Somewhere Good”
- 04:30 – Open-Ended Choices and Entrepreneurship
- 05:55 – Self-Taught Coding and a Shopping App
- 07:30 – The Attraction of an Organic Community of People and Content
- 09:00 – Competition Creates the Need for Excellence
- 10:20 – Helping Sellers Holistically with Helium 10’s Market Tracker
- 11:55 – Market Tracker’s Command Center
- 15:00 – Identifying and Qualifying Markets
- 16:15 – Market Tracker’s Market Share
- 18:00 – How Does the Power Score Work?
- 23:15 – Amazon’s World Pivots on a Dime
- 27:45 – John’s 30 Second Tip
- 29:00 – Let Us Know How You’re Using Market Tracker
Enjoy this episode? Be sure to check out our previous episodes for even more content to propel you to Amazon FBA Seller success! And don’t forget to “Like” our Facebook page and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Play or wherever you listen to our podcast.
Want to absolutely start crushing it on Amazon? Here are few carefully curated resources to get you started:
- Freedom Ticket: Taught by Amazon thought leader Kevin King, get A-Z Amazon strategies and techniques for establishing and solidifying your business.
- Ultimate Resource Guide: Discover the best tools and services to help you dominate on Amazon.
- Helium 10: 20+ software tools to boost your entire sales pipeline from product research to customer communication and Amazon refund automation. Make running a successful Amazon business easier with better data and insights. See what our customers have to say.
- Helium 10 Chrome Extension: Verify your Amazon product idea and validate how lucrative it can be with over a dozen data metrics and profitability estimation.
- SellerTradmarks.com: Trademarks are vital for protecting your Amazon brand from hijackers, and sellertrademarks.com provides a streamlined process for helping you get one.
Bradley: Today, we’re going to have Helium 10’s new Vice President of Product, John Gjeldum join us. He’s going to talk about his life journey, which included a stop working at Apple, and he’s going to go deep into our brand-new product, Market Tracker for Amazon sellers. How cool is that? Pretty cool, I think.
Bradley: Hello everybody and welcome to another episode of the Serious Sellers Podcast by Helium 10. I am your host, Bradley Sutton, and this is the show that’s a completely BS free, unscripted, and unrehearsed organic conversation about serious strategies for serious sellers of any level in the ecommerce world. And today, we’ve got somebody who’s not necessarily a serious seller. He’s one of my coworkers here, our new Vice President of Product, John Gjeldum. John, how’s it going?
John: Good. How are you, Bradley?
Bradley: Pretty good. Pretty good. Now, right before we get into it, in your entire time working here, I have never even attempted to pronounce your last name because there’s about 17 consonants in there, right next to each other. Now, is that a Dutch name or what’s the origin of that?
John: Actually, you guys know Bojan, he was asking me the same thing, but it’s Croatian.
Bradley: Croatian. How do you pronounce it?
John: It’s silent G, so it’s Gjeldum.
Bradley: Okay. I still won’t get it, so please don’t hold me to that, John. John is pretty easy. That’s my son’s name. That’s my middle name. If I miss that, I’m in trouble, but I think you’ll let it slide if I don’t get your last name exactly correct. But anyways, speaking of your name, having Croatian origins, is that where you were born or were you born in the States?
John: Yeah, I was born in the States, but I think my grandparents were from that region: Austria, Croatia, that’s my dad’s side, and then, we have all sorts of other European backgrounds from my mom’s side.
Bradley: Okay. Now, I know recently you moved down here to the Irvine area to be closer to the office, but you had come from up north. Is that where you were born¾up north, like Bay Area or where are you from originally in the States?
John: Yeah. I grew up outside of Chicago actually, so I was there until college. And then, I went to school in Midwest as well at Indiana University or IU.
Bradley: Is that Hoosiers?
John: Yup. Hoosiers; big basketball country out there. Also, a lot of bicycling. There’s this big race called Little 500. There’s actually a movie about it; I would recommend checking that out. I also lived in New York City, and then, I moved to San Francisco and now, I’m down here near Helium 10 in Irvine.
Bradley: Okay. Now, when you were growing up in Chicago or in your travels, how did you view where you would end up in life? Were you just a typical kid¾like I’m going to be a firefighter, or I’m going to be doctor, or did your parents set aspirations for you? What were your career goals when you were young?
John: My parents were pretty hands off, and they were both brought up in blue-collar settings. They went to college, and they just wanted to provide a better life for me and my brother. But they were like, “Hey just stay in school, work hard, and you’ll end up somewhere good.” And they didn’t really guide us anywhere in particular. I actually wanted to be a chef in high school. That’s what I was starting to think about doing and have taken a much different turn since then.
Bradley: What did your major end up being at IU?
John: At IU, I started out in entrepreneurship, so I was thinking about being a chef. My dad brought me around to some of his friends actually, some people who worked in the food service industry, and they were like, “Don’t do that. Don’t be a chef. It’s a super hard business: long hours, low pay. If you love to cook, just keep cooking, but you don’t need to make that your full-time job.” I ended up not pursuing that, but still have a passion for cooking. I think it molded into an entrepreneurship degree, because it still was that open-ended thing like, “Hey, maybe I want to be in food in some way. Maybe I want to start a restaurant; maybe I want to start a business.” My mom had her own sort of design agency, so she was a little bit entrepreneurial.
John: And that’s when I started out as at IU and still graduated with that degree. But then, I also added finance around my sophomore year, and that’s actually what I ended up graduating with: finance and entrepreneurship. I was thinking about having that entrepreneurial business plan knowledge but then also have a hard skill set¾something that someone might give me a job for right when I got out of school. And that’s where I ended up to start out with.
Bradley: Okay. Now, did you ever end up starting your own business or selling online or things like that that maybe typically people think about when they think of the word entrepreneurship?
John: Well, yeah. Actually, six years later, I ended up doing that. That’s a jump ahead. But I started out in investment banking for three years, and then I worked at Apple in their corporate development team for three years as well. Then, I took the plunge into the entrepreneur world and started my own business. I didn’t have any experience in design or engineering or product management or anything like that, but I ended up teaching myself to code, programming all sorts of stuff, and ended up trying to start a new social network and shopping app. I did end up doing that.
Bradley: Interesting. Okay. Is this the time where you were around Silicone Valley?
John: Yes. This was while I was in San Francisco and was seeing this huge movement towards online shopping; obviously, something that Helium 10 is taking advantage of in this new world of Amazon and Shopify, but also how more distributed people are discovering products and different things to buy. It used to be all advertising-driven and your traditional channels. And then, it exploded once we started having this content, this social networks¾YouTube, Instagram, other places. And I found that’s really where people started to discover and buy products. I wanted to take advantage of that trend and make it more distributed and make it more authentic and discover products through people. And that’s what drove me to try and start a business around that.
Bradley: Okay. That’s really interesting. Now, a lot of that sounds like what Helium 10’s mission statement and what we’re all about. Is that what attracted you to the position that had opened up over here that you ended up taking? What attracted you to Helium 10?
John: Yeah, I think Helium 10 definitely had that organic start where it was definitely content driven and people driven, and that’s really what attracted people to build this community around selling and being successful on Amazon and then building a business around it. And so, I definitely think that this feature has attracted me to the company just because there is such a powerful community around Helium 10, and that’s really where I see the future is: community plus content plus commerce. It intertwines and is how people will start discovering, buying, and selling products.
Bradley: Cool. Cool. Now, I think everybody in one sense or another knows that there’s people who make money selling on Amazon or it is a viable business opportunity. I’m sure you knew about that before, but obviously, since you’ve been working at Helium 10, your eyes have probably been open to more of the details of this whole thing about selling on Amazon. Since you’ve been here and since you’ve learned more about the process and what people are actually doing, what was your biggest surprise, or what’s your biggest takeaway from getting into this Amazon ecosystem?
John: I think the number one thing I’ve learned is just how big of a market it is. And so it’s super exciting to see, “Hey, I can launch a product so fast, so quickly and get it out to millions of people.” But with that ease also comes incredible competition. And so, I think that’s really why Helium 10 is trying to help you rise to the top¾because there’s so much competition. It’s part of that Amazon ethos of what’s best for the consumer means tons and tons of competition. I think that’s really where Helium 10 is excelling in helping our sellers do better than others.
Bradley: Absolutely. Absolutely. Now, you’re definitely in your role playing a big part of that as VP of product, and one of your first projects that has come to fruition now is our brand-new tool that we just launched recently called Market Tracker. And that’s what we’re going to mainly have you on here today for¾to talk about that. What was the origin story of Market Tracker? Was this one of your ideas or, or did our CTO now CEO Bojan come to you with this idea, or how did that happen? Or did it come from our users mainly?
John: Yeah, I am relatively recent to the company. We’re growing super quickly. It was something that I joined and started becoming a part of, but it definitely was partly our users thinking about this and asking for it and also going Bojan was thinking of how do we help serve sellers in a more holistic way. And I think the real origin behind it is going back to that sort of competition. And whenever we talk about selling on Amazon, we talk about knowing who’s around you, how people are indexing, what other products are out there, and it’s constantly changing and this world is moving super, super fast. And whenever you’re selling, you need to stay on top of those changes¾stay informed with data, keep updated, know about new entrance, things like that¾and I think that’s exactly what Market Tracker helps you do.
Bradley: Okay. Why don’t you walk us through it, say one of our listeners is not a Helium 10 user but they are selling on Amazon. For the typical Amazon seller, walk us through the process of what problems Market Tracker solves, and how it does that.
John: Yes. I think as an existing seller, there are many ways to stay informed on how products are sold around you. You could be constantly just typing in keywords and seeing what results pop up. You could be using our tools like Black Box to see estimated sales. You could be using X-Ray to be keeping informed on your competitors. But like I said, that’s a lot of different places where you could be looking and staying on top of the space in which you sell. And so, I think one of those big primary benefits of Market Tracker is putting that data in one place and then having that command center where it’s that reference point that you can keep coming back to see how people are doing around me: who’s declining, who’s increasing, are they getting more reviews, are their sales going up, spotting trends, how is the overall market doing? I think Market Tracker just gives you that fuller picture of what’s going on around you.
Bradley: Okay, good. Now, what are the parameters of it? Somebody’s listening to this episode, they’re already a Helium 10 user, and they want to jump right into it. What’s the process? How do they decide what to track, and what are some tips that you can give us for that?
John: Yeah. For listeners who maybe haven’t dived into the tool yet, we really start to allow people to start tracking markets. And what we mean by markets is this specific space in which you sell. And we define those by you giving us up to five keywords, or you can give us ASINs to help define that space: maybe Bradley’s talked about egg cartons or egg holders in Project X, or maybe you’re selling a Halloween coffin shelf. These are spaces in which you sell, and so you wanted to find these markets in which you want to track. And so you give us up to five keywords that help define those markets, maybe some ASINs or some products that you want to specifically track as well, maybe it’s your own or maybe some specific competitors. And then, this starts to build the market which is continuously updated. We give you new data each day. In terms of creating those markets, maybe you’ve been selling for a long time and you note some of the main keywords that you want to be monitoring or you want to be indexing for. And so, you would be able to put in those five keywords pretty easily. You could also find that information from Black Box, our tool to find relevant keywords for the space that you want to start tracking. You could also go into Cerebro and find some competitors and see what they’re ranking for to help you figure out what this sort of market, what those keywords you want to put in.
Bradley: Oh, that’s interesting. You just brought up a point that I’ve been using the tool only for a couple of weeks, and I was mainly thinking about it from the viewpoint of we already have a product, and I think this is how maybe most people would have thought about it¾that we already have a product¾we know what our main keywords are, where we think we’re getting the sales from, whether we’re using Helium 10 to show that or using our PPC reports or using Brand Analytics to see where we’re getting conversions from. But then, I want to be able to know if there’s new players in the market. I was thinking of it from the viewpoint, which I think still is very valid that it’s an existing thing, but you just brought up something where when you talked about Black Box, but like even before somebody is selling, this is a way that people can monitor different niches or markets even before they pick a product just to make sure it’s something that they want to go ahead and invest in. Right?
John: Absolutely. I think that’s the cool thing about this tool and a lot of our tools. There is no one specific way that you can use it, but I do see Market Tracker being for the existing seller who wants to stay on top of market. But you could also use it for that product-research-type scenario as well. Like you said, “Hey, maybe I want to monitor what’s going on in this market, who’s being successful? How has it changed over the next month,” and then, I can make that decision on “So I want to start going after this market and do I think I can be successful?”
Bradley: Yeah, absolutely. That’s pretty cool. Now, in this tool, there’s a lot of metrics in there that people who sell on Amazon or have used Helium 10 are very familiar with like BSR and estimated sales, estimated revenue, the reviews. You could track everybody’s reviews. But there’s a couple of things that are a little bit newer. Let’s first talk about these two metrics, which are the main key parts of Market Tracker, which are Sales Share and Market Share. Can you explain the definition of those in relation to how it’s utilized in Market Tracker?
John: For sure. Yeah. Why don’t we start with Market Share. And so, we wanted to create this concept of “if you are monitoring this market, we view this market as being this holistic space.” And so, overall, let’s say there’s a hundred products in this market, each have a certain number of sales. Well, the market volume is the collective revenue of these products in a market. And so, let’s say, that’s $1 million , and then, each product within that takes up a certain percentage of market share within that market. That’s really what you’re seeing when you create a market: seeing the market share of each individual competitor within this space. And you can see it’s a really great metric to keep monitoring, not only for yourself, if you’re selling in that market already, which is why we direct people to select “This is my product,” so you can start seeing your own market share, but you can monitor market share of competitors to see like, “Hey, these guys, they used to only have half a percent of the market share for this market. And I’ve seen them rise up to 1% or 5%.” It’s a good way to monitor who’s taking sales around me. Sales Share is a similar sort of concept. It’s derived from the number of units sold. If you see, we give the column of estimated sales that’s in units, and so it’s a similar concept of what is the total number of units and then how many units is someone selling within the market.
Bradley: Okay. Now, the last one, I think, is fairly new. I’m sure it’s unique to Market Tracker: the power score. What is the Power Score based off of?
John: Power Score is a Helium 10 calculation meant to give you a quick reference point of how relevant each of these products are across the keywords that you provided. And so, you give us up to five keywords, and these products could show up across one of them, five of them, three of them and at different points for each of those keywords. And so, this is a great estimate, a great reference point to see, “Hey, this product has a power score of 85.” That’s a very high power score. We rank it based upon zero to 100, and so, the higher you get towards 100 means the higher this product is ranking across all the keywords.
Bradley: Ah, okay. That’s pretty cool. Now, one cool thing, I mentioned this earlier for at least the people who are already selling. One thing that I’ve noticed as I started tracking these markets is that Market Tracker is giving me a whole bunch of suggestions and products to review. Like, “Hey, you might want to track this product or you might not.” And some of them I pick, “Yes, this is a great one.” And some of them I pick “No.” Well, what are the criteria? Is it monitoring if there’s a new player that comes in for one of these keywords that I hadn’t picked to track and so it’s just giving me the option of “Do I want to track or not,” or what’s some of the criteria that it uses for these suggestions?
John: Yeah, I think it really depends on the keywords and how these products are ranking. And so, you never know on the real-world scenario, if someone types in a keyword like egg tray or something, they’re going to see a bunch of different results. Maybe they’re wooden, maybe they’re glass, maybe they’re plastic; they’re looking at a bunch of different products, and they’re influenced by what shows up in that list of products on Amazon. And so, when we are creating Market Tracker and trying to provide suggestions, we really do keep off of that same sort of real-world scenario. And so, we’re giving you suggestions based upon real-world rankings and trying to provide you things that are popping up on those results around you. If you are trying to index for egg tray, right container, you are competing against those things that are coming up against you. That’s where we surface those suggestions, and that’s what the Power Score is really meant to tell you: “Hey, these guys are showing up in some of the first-page results or high up in results, and you might want to pay attention to those.” I think the Power Score is a great indicator of that, but then it’s also up to your own judgment of again, maybe you’re selling a wooden egg container or something like that, and you really don’t view a wire decorative egg container that lives on a counter as being your competitor. And so, you still can have those sorts of judgment calls of like, “Hey, this, this really isn’t relevant to my market. And so maybe I’ll ignore these, but these other ones have a high Power Score.
John: They look like my product, and I want to track these.” But I also think that’s the beauty of Market Tracker; it’s constantly evolving, and you can continue to edit it and maintain it and curate it. And “Hey, maybe you want to keep a product in there for, you press track, it’s in there for two weeks, but then, maybe later on, you’re saying, “Hey, this isn’t as relevant. The Power Score is dropping. I thought about it some more and it’s really not relevant for me.” At that point you can always ignore it and remove it from your market.
Bradley: I just actually came up also with even another item, maybe you’ve thought about this already. But one thing that I’ve noticed as I’ve been tracking things like the coffin shelf and the egg tray is some of these suggestions that it’s giving me, I don’t think are super relevant to what I am selling. Like I’m not going to track it, but it’s giving ideas on products that could be product extensions. Like, for example, I just happened to look at the coffin shelf right now, while we’re talking, to the market that I’m tracking there and a couple of these suggestions are: One is, I don’t know if you can picture this in your head, an inflatable coffin-shaped buffet cooler. And I’m like, “I didn’t even know this existed,: but hey, if like the brand that we did on Project X was Manny’s mysterious oddities. And if people are buying a coffin shelf, they’re into coffin-shaped things, and coffin-shaped things that people use in everyday life. And like, let’s say, we had used Portals maybe you build an email audience. Now we have a whole bunch of fans who like our coffin-shaped products. But here, this is a cool way. I mean, I don’t even know how I would have found this product, but the coffin-shaped buffet cooler and also a coffin-shaped mirror. But I’m not going to track those in my coffin-shelf market, but I’m definitely going to probably save those in my database or something like that as potential extensions. Maybe you thought about that already, but I just literally was like, “Whoa, this is pretty cool.”
John: Totally. And I think that goes back to how fast the world of Amazon can change, and people are launching products constantly. And unless you’re sitting around just doing random searches around you, different keywords every single day, and maybe there are some sellers who have done that previously, but I think this is that great reference point that you can keep coming back to and learn about new products every single day and either are more informed or you just get inspiration or maybe they’re not all ones that you want to track, but it gives you that, that constantly updated space that you can be like, “Hey, this is something I should look into or this is something I do want to track or this is a new competitor I’d never heard of.” Things like that.
Bradley: Cool. Cool. Now, we’re going to play a quick game here that we play with our guests before we get into your 30-second tip, which is another thing we do on the show, but this is called the search volume game. I’m going to give you three keyword searches that people are using on Amazon today, and I pulled their estimated search volume from Magnet. All right, so don’t be cheating over there. I’ll be able to hear if you click, and everybody at home, you’ll go ahead and play along. And then, basically, what you’re going to try and do is match the keyword with the search volume or you can just say “most,” “least,” “middle,” or something like that. The three keywords, and I’m just going to give it to you in the order of how many letters they have in it, and I always try and make it somewhat related to our guests. As you were giving your story, I went and pulled these words. The first word is chef hat; the second word is chef knife. And the longest word here is chef knives. Now, the three search volumes from least to most: one of these keywords is search for only about 2,000 times a month. The middle one is searched for about 7,000 to 8,000 times a month. And the one that is searched the most is 30,000 times a month. Again, it’s chef hat, chef knife, and chef knives.
Bradley: I think the highest would be chef knife. That’s a commonly used term. I think that I’ve heard a lot of people use that rather than chef knives, because I don’t think that’s more of a plural thing. I would say that’s the middle. And then, I’m not sure how many people are wearing chef hats at home, but I would say that’s the least searched. Right?
Bradley: You got one correct. And I would say 90% of our guests, I’ve done this maybe 30 times, they only get zero or one right, and then, the other two are switched. I’ve only had one person or two people out of 30 get this right, which is the reason why I do the game is because I try and tell people, “You could have an expert in the field and how that person would search is not exactly how America as a whole or the UK as a whole or whatever country you’re selling in searches.” Always do the research guys in Helium 10 so that you’ll know what the words that people are using. Chef knife, you are correct by far and away has 30,000 searches. Definitely the leader there. But surprisingly, chef hat is 7,600, and chef knives is 2,000, so I guess people are looking for a specific knife as opposed to some just random knives out there.
John: I wonder if that also speaks to how broad Amazon is. Maybe that’s also professionals searching just to get their own hats for the workplace or wherever. Who knows.
Bradley: Yeah. Who knows. But that’s what Helium 10 is. You don’t have to know exactly the why, but if you do the research, you’ll know the what and it’s going to help you. Because imagine if somebody, who thinks they know the chef market, and they’re like, “Hey, what, chef knives is the main important keyword, so that’s what I’m going to use in my title and stuff.” And they’d be doing themselves a disservice because they didn’t do the research. Anybody out there who’s going to start using Market Tracker, who want to get it the chef category, do chef knife and chef hat instead of chef knives. There we go. All right, so now we get to a part of the show that we call the TST, stands for TST, or 30-second tip. Basically, how this works is you give us in 30 seconds or less your best tip, or strategy, or advice for people that’s actionable and that’s valuable, maybe somewhat unique to you. Now, this could be something about Market Tracker; it could be something about being an entrepreneur since that’s what your specialty is. It could be something about Apple since you worked there; it could be your best recipe. I don’t know. But let us have your 30-second tip.
John: I would recommend going in and we give you information, data points on estimated sales BSR, stuff like that. But I’d recommend diving into the charts. You’ll see little chart icons next to an estimated sales column, the BSR column. But those are being pulled in right from our other tool, Xray, which will give you trends of what’s going on with each of these products. It’s a really easy way to dive right into, “Hey, how is this product doing? Not only today, but how’s it doing over time?” And then that will give you a little bit even more perspective on how each of these competitors are doing, and if you want to imitate them or keep an eye on them or other things. But those trends right in the same place as all your other data, I think, is just super helpful for people.
Bradley: Awesome. Awesome. Guys, I want to hear from everybody how you guys are using Market Tracker. This is one of our newest tools. After listening to this episode and you guys start tracking your first markets, let us know what interesting things you have found. I know that all Amazon sellers want to be secretive about exactly what they’re selling or what they’re researching. You don’t have to give your product or anything. But if you found something cool, you see Market Tracker, head on over to the Helium 10 Users Facebook group and tag myself in there, and I’ll show it to John too, because we also love getting feedback, because this is a brand new tool. I’m sure there’s things that you guys are going to love, we want to hear about it, but maybe there’s something that you guys wish were there and is not, so make sure to send your suggestions. There’s a small chat window and the bottom right of Market Tracker that connects to our 24/7 customer support. Just say, “Hey, I’ve got a suggestion for John for Market Tracker.” Put it in there, and I know John looks at these things, because we always value our customer’s feedback. Make sure to give us and John your feedback. Anyways, John, I haven’t seen you in a couple of weeks, because of the lockdown here, so I hope to be seeing you soon too when things get back to normal at the office.
John: For sure. Thanks for having me on.
Bradley: All right, thanks for coming on John. We’ll see you soon. Quick note, guys, don’t forget that regardless where you are listening to this podcast, whether it’s on your iPhone, or on Stitcher, on Spotify, that you hit the subscribe button, so you can be notified every time we drop a new episode.